Bellator MMA 'Spikes' in ratings, goes to 4-man tourneys for next season; summer return for King Mo

Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal - Photo by Bellator MMA

Expanding on their successful initial run on Spike TV, Bellator MMA will switch from 8-man to 4-man tournaments for the upcoming "Summer Series 2013" season, which will also feature the return of prized light-heavyweight "King Mo."

In recent press releases (posted below), the Bellator promotion released the ratings for their virgin tour on Spike TV, which show a 36% increase in eyeballs for their target demographic, and also announced that the field of contenders for their signature elimination tournaments will be narrowed from 8 fighters to 4 for the upcoming "Summer Series 2013" season.

Bellator averaged 861,000 viewers since switching from MTV2 to Spike TV and peaked at 952,000 viewers for the closing show of last season (Bellator 95: Curran vs. Shamhalaev), which amounts to a 36% audience boost in the key demographic of men age 25 through 34 compared to the previous season on MTV2. For competitive reference, the last season of "The Ultimate Fighter" on the FX channel averaged 829,000 viewers while the current season (TUF 17) has risen to 1.23 million viewers per episode.

Bellator's 4-man "Summer Series 2013" tournaments, which aggregate a field of established contenders and new prospects to battle their way toward a title shot, will take place in the following divisions: Heavyweight (championed by Alexander Volkov), Light-Heavyweight (championed by Attila Vegh) and Bantamweight (championed by Eduardo Dantas).

Finally, MMAFighting reports that Muhammed Lawal will return to action this summer, likely as a competitor in the Summer Series 2013 Light-Heavyweight tournament. Lawal was the victim of a shocking upset via spinning-back fist KO courtesy of Emanuel Newton in the last Light-Heavyweight Tournament, who went on to edge out Mikhail Zayats in the finals to win the whole shebang. Prevailing in the tournament affords "The Hardcore Kid" a chance for revenge against Vegh, who defeated Newton in last year's tournament by controversial split decision.

Bellator's press releases for the Spike TV ratings and Summer Series 2013 tournaments immediately follow.


New York, NY - April 10, 2013 - Spike TV's debut season Bellator MMA was a ratings success for the network, delivering an average of 861,000 viewers, culminating with 952,000 viewers for its finale event this past Thursday, April 4. Emanating from venues all around the country, Bellator's live events on Spike TV improved the timeslot (Thursdays from 10pm-12:00am) in the hard-to-reach male demographic of Men 25-34 by 36% (compared to last year).

Bellator's shift from MTV2 to Spike TV proved to be a ratings bonanza for the rising MMA league. The most recent season 8 on Spike TV delivered +388% more viewers than Season 7 on MTV 2 and +403% more viewers than Season 6. Also of note, the weekly encore presentation of the Bellator events drew an average of 336,000 on Thursday night (12:00-2:00am) - thus the weekly cume was an impressive 1,197,000 viewers.

Competitively, Bellator MMA consistently placed in the top 10 in cable among Men 18-34 and Men 18-49 in the timeslot. For the live finale last week, Bellator placed #6 with Men 18-49 with a 0.7 rating. Also, Bellator's April 4 event was a hit on social media as it ranked #5 on cable for tweets during episode airtime, the highest during this season.

"As the television home of mixed martial arts, we were thrilled to deliver to our fans an exciting, action-packed live Bellator event each week with the compelling story-telling and high production values viewers expect from Spike," said Kevin Kay, President, Spike TV.

"The response from fans on television and in-arena was tremendous this season," Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. "Our partners at Spike have given Bellator an enormous platform to showcase some of the best mixed martial arts on the planet. And...this is just the beginning."

(*delivery numbers includes time-shifting)

For more information, visit, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA, follow Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney @BjornRebney and check out Bellator on Facebook at

Four-Man Tournaments for Summer Series

Updated: April 10, 2013 - 3:13 p.m. (ET)

Newport Beach, CA. (April 10, 2013) - After closing out a highly successful inaugural season on Spike TV, Bellator announced today it will hold four-man tournaments over the summer in the Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight and Bantamweight divisions.

"We are always striving to enhance every aspect of the Bellator formula for our fighters and fans," Bellator CEO & Chairman Bjorn Rebney said. "Our Champions consistently defending their titles against world class challengers who've earned their title shots creates a win/win for those two crucial groups. Three stacked 4-man tournaments over our Summer Series on Spike is another great step in our growth and evolution"

Bellator has historically held classic eight-man tournaments featuring a collection of top talent from around the world. The eight-man tournament fields will continue this fall, live on Spike TV and in Spanish language on mun2.

Dates, venues and the final 4 for this Summer's Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight and Bantamweight tournaments will be announced shortly.

For more information, visit, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA, follow Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney @BjornRebney and check out Bellator on Facebook at

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